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Re: GSBN:Taddelakt

Here's a few thoughts on the subject.
By chance some years back I found a young kid in Tucson who had been to Morocco and apprenticed with a Tadelakt plasterer. I don't know how much difference one finds between different Tadelakt methods in Morocco, but here's what he learned. After all, the old saying goes, every maestro has his own book. Anyhow, yes the lime there is impure and has enough particles in it that when we prepared a lime putty here the ratio came out to something like 1 part lime to 1 part 60 grit marble aggregate. He thought that to be basically similar. From there he used a small putty knife to daub the mixture on the wall in a consistent pattern. Once applied he switched to a piece of plastic cut out of the back of a quart oil container and used that to essentially smooth and burnish the plaster. He only did one coat rather than two. After that the black olive oil soap was applied (very thin) in successive layers with each coat being polished with a smooth stone. Kind of like the Pueblo indians in this country who polish their pottery with Crisco. You can layer in tinted lime to get a layered effect. I think the comment about doing an imitation vs the real thing probably falls into the category of the kind of comments that reference the "good old days" when things used to be superior in nature. It seems to me that it depends more upon who does it and how. After all, lime is lime, marble or calcium aggregate is what it is and black soap is what it is. The soap is basically a gooey slimy material. It is handled by Transmineral here in the States. However, I happen to have a chemist/soap expert here at the moment and she says that it basically comes down to soaps that have a high sterine content and that there are others higher up on the chart. The most common being Dr. Bronners.

If that Dutch guy Rene reads this he will undoubtedly have something to say about it in that he has a contact there with whom he has worked. Anyhow, punching Tadelakt into Google will most likely give all the results one needs in that Tadelakt masters seem to abound these days.

Btw, I have 3 people here at the moment in our Artistry workshop whose lime plasters have fallen from their earthen plaster substrates and are seeking other options.

On Oct 17, 2007, at 2:06 AM, André de Bouter wrote:

Hello Andy,

We (my wife, the kids and I) are driving down to Marakech (Tadelakt
heaven) this november where I'll finally be taking a tadelakt workshop. The basic principle is using their local lime (CL in Europe =Calcic Lime
= non hyraulic) which is not completely pure nor completely 'cooked',
just as the old limes Bill Steen mentioned.
This allows for the lime to be used pure (with pigment) with only minor
A second thin layer is applied, which is hard troweled when leather
hard. This closes the minor cracks.
Then green soap is applied with a flat stone.
A mason can do about 4mÓ per day, which makes it quite costly compared
to tiles etc.
It is traditionally used in Morocco for covering the Hammam's which were
made of un stabilized earth.
There is only one word that describes the end product : Sumptuous!
There are recepies that copy this effect with other limes. In general
marble dust (!) is used to avoid excessive cracking and to keep the soft
surface. Those who have experience tell me that nothing really is as
beautiful as the real stuff. although I agree there is a difference, the
'falsifications' are also effective and beautiful).

Tadelakt is watertight (bathtubs and the like can be made with it) but
does not breath. So it will not have the advantage of absorbing the
moisture and releasing it later as earth plaster has. I intend to use it
in the shower and for the sink, but will not cover the rest of the
earthen plaster in that room. I agree with Graeme that earth holds up
very well by itself. We have our bath in our 'Master' ;-) bedroom. Our 2
kids also use it often (in Europe having 2 bathrooms is an exception).
We never have even the slightest condensation on our windows nor on the

A beautiful (french) book on the subject is:
Le tadelakt, un d?cor ? la chaux by Sol?ne Delahousse ISBN 2-7072-0476-5
Look at Amazon to see the cover (but order in your local bookstore ;-)
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.fr/tadelakt-d%C3%A9cor-%C3%A0-chaux/dp/2707204765";>http://www.amazon.fr/tadelakt-d%C3%A9cor-%C3%A0-chaux/dp/2707204765</a>

Bill Steen showed us during ? workhop near Santa F? how he makes
something visually similar with kaolin clay. He hard troweled a very
thin layer of leather hard pure clay. This also gave a very very very
soft/slick surface, but it is not intended to be watertight.

Plaster on,

Just to make you all green with envy : this is where we will be for the
Taddelakt workshop :
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.riadzinoun.com/tadelakt-stage-anglais.html";>http://www.riadzinoun.com/tadelakt-stage-anglais.html</a>
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.riadzinoun.com/riad_visite1.html";>http://www.riadzinoun.com/riad_visite1.html</a>

Andy Horn a ?crit :
Does anyone know about the Moroccan takalak plasters, which are apparently used in bathrooms? I believe they are supposedly used in waterproofing of
baths and showers too?

-----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Graeme North
Sent: 11 October 2007 09:32 PM
Subject: Re: GSBN: Earth plasters

Hi Mark I&#xD5;ve not found mould on earth plasters to be a problem I have


darker surface &#xD2;patches&#xD3; on fermented earthen material eg mud bricks or


where the mix had sat for a while (weeks) before using and had fermented


bit, but I do not think these darker patches that arise from this are


Mould may occur if the walls are very slow to dry and/or are not fully dry beneath earth plasters, or else the building does not have sufficient


and moisture keeps the wall wet.
I&#xD5;ve got earthen plasters (with paper pulp) in my own bathroom where they


really steamy at times, (from showering) which not only dry out really quickly, but also suck moisture out of towels and wet floors keeping the


really dry there is no mould after three or more years of this, even


we live in a wet and humid climate virtually never less than 60%, often


over 80% - 90%.




Thanks for your submission and insight. The first I'd heard of


straw (or paper) was from some friends from NZ, Sven and Sarah Johnston, who hosted a workshop and a guest presenter was Tom Raven, the colorful Frenchman, who uses a fermented mix, like bakers use a yeast starter for baking breads. Tom swears by this fermenting and concurs with you on added durability of the earth plasters. The Johnstons found they had some mold issues, maybe as a result of this mix tho. Have you experience any issues
with molds?

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Athena &amp; Bill Steen
The Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611